We all want to be at our best. However, as you get older, your ‘best’ will begin to change, and usually not for the better. While aging is inevitable, there are several supplements you can take to control the process so that you continue to put your best face forward. In my view, aging gracefully comes down to caring about what you put in your body. Taking the right dietary supplements can give your body what it needs to stay healthier, more vibrant, and yes, even younger-looking.
Optimal Aging Over Anti-Aging
Let’s be frank. ‘anti-aging’ is a misnomer. No matter what you eat or how much you exercise, your body will still continue to grow older (chronologically) every day – there’s nothing you can do to avoid that (currently). Don’t get me wrong, plenty of science is emerging on a regular basis that shows tremendous promise. These breakthroughs are showing us ways we can not only extend our lifespan, but more importantly, do so in a manner that provides us with the best QUALITY of life for as long as possible.
How you take care of yourself will make a significant difference in the wear and tear that daily life puts on you physically. For this reason, I prefer to use the term ‘optimal aging’.
My Top Five Optimal Aging Supplements
There are many ways that we can slow down the degenerative processes in our body, and those will continue to be discussed in future posts. For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on an area that is a massive industry, often coupled with massive confusion and misconceptions.
There are dozens of dietary supplements that can help you age well, but in my view, five stand out above the rest. Below are the five supplements I recommend adding to your daily diet in order for you to keep the signs of aging in check.
1. Liposomal Vitamin C
My recommendation for taking vitamin C shouldn’t come as a surprise. Vitamin C is one of the most widely recognized forms of antioxidants in food today, and keeping your levels high is critical for helping your immune system function properly. Inflammation is the root cause of aging and degeneration in your body, and because vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory agent, it is a powerful component for keeping you looking younger.
White blood cells need vitamin C to fight off pathogens and free radicals in your bloodstream, and the vitamin is also essential for fending off negative immune system responses like colds and the flu.
Vitamin C may also be as good for you externally as it is internally. Evidence shows that the vitamin is essential for collagen production, which is used to keep your skin looking smooth and hydrated. High doses can help cure cuts and bruises, and some research shows that vitamin C is also important for eye health because it helps prevent cataracts.
It is important to note that, not all vitamin C works the same way. A technological breakthrough called liposomal vitamin C offers significantly better health benefits by allowing your body to absorb more nutrients from each serving.
Liposomes are impossibly small fat-soluble vehicles that can carry nutrients directly to your body’s cells. Liposomal vitamin C is packaged in two layers of fatty materials (just like the phospholipid bilayer of your cell membranes) so that it can pass through your digestive barrier and directly into your bloodstream. This creates an absorption rate that’s 90 percent higher than standard forms of vitamin C, even compared to administering it through an IV!
I recommend taking liposomal vitamin C regularly as a dietary supplement, and increasing your dose when you feel like your immune system is compromised. You’ll experience better health because of it.
As the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin is proof that some of the best optimal aging supplements come directly from nature. Turmeric is a bright orange culinary spice in the ginger family that has traditionally been used in India for everything from a flavoring agent to a treatment for bronchitis and diabetes. Classic curries owe their yellow colouring to this flavourful spice, and the health benefits come directly from the curcumin it contains.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and makes up about five percent of turmeric, and there is evidence that consuming it regularly can slow down the aging process. Studies have shown that Indian populations that eat lots of turmeric have low rates of Alzheimer’s disease, likely because of the spice’s natural anti-inflammatory properties.
There is also evidence that curcumin can provide pain relief and improve functioning for arthritic joints, and it might have some cancer-preventing benefits as well. Studies have also found that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects can compare to regular anti-inflammatory medications, but without the side effects.
I recommend getting your curcumin naturally by adding turmeric to your regular diet. While turmeric powder is better than nothing, you’ll get the greatest flavour and nutritional benefits from using the root directly. If you want a more concentrated supply or can’t handle the taste of turmeric, taking a curcumin extract supplement may be a better idea. Black pepper helps curcumin get absorbed into your bloodstream, so consider taking a few peppercorns with each dose.
While you likely know how important antioxidants are for your health, have you given much thought to amino acids? As the building blocks for proteins, amino acids are responsible for the formation of everything from your muscles to your hair and nails, and collagen is one of the most abundant forms of protein in your body.
You can think of collagen as the ‘glue’ that holds your body together, but this glue decreases in both quality and quantity as we age. Losing collagen is directly connected to some of the most apparent signs of aging, including sagging skin, wrinkles, and sore joints.
Restoring your collagen levels through regular dietary supplements is key to successful optimal aging. Supplementing your natural collagen levels may improve your circulation, relieve joint pain, prevent (and even reduce) cellulite, reduce wrinkles, improve the quality of your hair, and more. Further, collagen can improve gut lining integrity, which is critical to improve absorption of essential nutrients necessary for slowing down degenerative processes.
Collagen is derived from the bones and tissues of animals. Long ago, people got collagen in their diet from bone broths and soups. While an organic bone broth is still one of the best ways to add collagen to your diet today, taking supplements can also be effective. When choosing a collagen supplement, make sure to find one with a blend of at least five different collagen subtypes. This ensures you get a broader range of amino acids, which allows the collagen to to fully benefit your body.
4. Liposomal Glutathione
The chances are good that you haven’t heard of glutathione, but this tripeptide antioxidant is vital for the functioning of every other antioxidant and vitamin in your body. Glutathione is present in every living thing and responsible for cell detoxification, mitochondrial health, energy production, and has even been credited with slowing down the aging process.
It’s natural to experience glutathione deficiencies as you grow older. General aging or health conditions like Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can deplete your levels, which leads to oxidative stress and cellular damage. If you frequently suffer from infections, your glutathione levels may be low. Many regularly prescribed pharmaceutical medications have also been known to deplete glutathione pools in your body, especially affecting your liver and critical detoxification processes.
To replenish your levels, a glutathione supplement is needed. However, most glutathione supplements on the market today are relatively ineffective because they are broken down too quickly in your digestive tract for you to experience any benefits from them.
Glutathione IVs can solve this problem, but like with vitamin C, the next best solution comes from liposome technology. By creating bonds that quickly pass through cell membranes, liposomal glutathione significantly improves the absorption and bioavailability of this antioxidant. The membrane coating the supplement prevents it from getting broken down during digestion, meaning that your body can better benefit from it.
Taking a regular dose will restore your glutathione and help your body function like it’s years younger.
Did you know that one of the most potent antioxidants in nature can be found in… marine animals? Truth is stranger than fiction, as astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment found in salmon, krill, shrimp, trout and other sea creatures. Unlike many other antioxidants, astaxanthin will never cause harmful oxidation, meaning that you don’t need to worry about your dosage.
Similar to other antioxidants, astaxanthin can naturally reduce free radicals in your body and protect your cells against oxidation. The antioxidants unique molecular structure and red colouring makes it a powerful protector against invaders in your body, meaning that it is useful for protecting your eyes and skin. In fact, astaxanthin can improve your skin’s elasticity and smoothness to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, freckles and age spots. Under the surface, astaxanthin also improves your heart health, cellular functioning, and the effectiveness of your body’s immune system.
You can get astaxanthin by eating more marine life, but supplements also work well. Taking between 4 to 6mg on a regular basis provides your body with the most powerful antioxidant it needs to fight off the effects of aging for a few more years. Because astaxanthin is fat soluble, your body will benefit the most when taken with food.
How to Source Your Supplements
Not all supplements are created equal. The age, source, and even packaging can make a difference in their overall effectiveness, meaning that it’s important to do some research to ensure you invest only in professional level supplement lines. You need to carefully consider the claims that each manufacturer makes, and check their statements to see if they have FDA approval.
At The Dempster Clinic- Center for Functional Medicine, we can help you experience optimal aging through various approaches that are customized for your specific needs. If you would like to discuss the right optimal aging strategies for you, please contact my clinic today.
The Dempster Clinic- Center for Functional Medicine offers a free 15-minute consultation to ensure that you find the right fit for addressing all your health goals.
I look forward to working with you soon.
Dr. John Dempster
The Dempster Clinic- Center for Functional Medicine